Christmas holiday season making you feel stressed or anxious? Then be kind to yourself and avoid shopping on Black Friday! It’s a frenzied mob of highly charged, emotionally stressed buyers who will do things they normally wouldn’t. People pepper spray each other. Workers and shoppers get crushed or trampled by the horde. Do you really need to be part of such chaos?

Black Friday stress isn’t helped by owners keeping doors locked right until opening time, being short on staff, or having limited stocks. The way Black Friday operates also feeds mob psychology. Personal responsibility is gone once the crowd starts shopping. Everyone’s doing it, so why can’t you? The more people in a crowd, the less responsibility you feel as an individual. Someone else will help that guy who was punched. You adopt the emotions and behavior of the crowd. A person starts running to a bin, everyone follows. People are anxious, stressed, and angry. You don’t have to be an empath for these emotions to sink in or make your own anxieties and anger explode through the roof.

Deliberately putting yourself into a stressful situation only increases anxiety and depression. You might feel like you have to buy something to feel happy or loved. Grabbing that door buster special or picking up that limited item can be a great reward. But it’s a momentary happiness, something that won’t increase or decrease how you generally feel about your life or how much people love you.

Merchandise has a short lifespan when it comes to making a person happy. Think of the kid who plays with his toys for one week and then lets them sit in the corner for months. Realize that what gives you joy now probably won’t give the same level of happiness later.

How can you avoid stress on Black Friday? The easiest thing is not shop.

If you can’t maintain the self-control needed to not shop, then ask friends or family for help. This means tough love from people who care about you. They can refuse to take you to sales or arrange to go with you to another event that has nothing to do with shopping. Throwing out flyers, changing the channel during ads, or even talking about what you want to buy can make you realize you don’t necessarily need it. If family and friends know you have your heart set on a certain special item, options might include buying it another day or for another occasion like your birthday. Everyone might pitch in to buy it on regular price.

Focus on what matters. Happy memories bring joy years after the events, even into old age. You’ll probably forget that gift you bought on Black Friday because in the long-term, it won’t matter. Realize too that what is trending right now might not be cool or current in a few months, especially when it comes to tech.

Avoid Black Friday shopping and you avoid adding one more stressor to your life. It’s that simple.

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